Top crypto bosses have responded to environmental concerns around crypto mining that were raised earlier by House Democrats. The respondents include names like SkyBridge Capital’s Anthony Scaramucci, Galaxy Digital’s Michael Novogratz, Grayscale Investments’ Michael Sonnenshein, Block Inc.’s Jack Dorsey, and MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor, among others.
In the co-authored letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency Chief Michael Regan, the executives have refuted the worries of the Congress members. They argued that the concerns are “premised on several misperceptions about Bitcoin and digital asset mining,”
Last month, Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman and 22 members of Congress had asked the watchdog to bring crypto miners under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, as they questioned the environmental sustainability of crypto mining.
Both the Acts are comprehensive federal laws in the United States that regulate air emissions, and surface water pollution while promoting public health.
No ‘outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions’
The rebuttal letter denies that Bitcoin mining facilities have “an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.” Instead, crypto leaders explained that the argument “confuses datacenters with power generation facilities,” with similar datacenters being operated by companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft.
Castle Island Venture’s chief and a signatory in the letter, Nic Carter, told CNBC, “It would be very unusual for the EPA to regulate the kind of computation that’s occurring within a data center. That’s clearly outside of their remit,”
Moreover, the executive’s reason that crypto miners actually reduce the greenhouse gas concerns as 64.6% of Bitcoin mining is through sustainable energy, as cited by the Bitcoin Mining Council’s Q1 survey.
No emissions, no e-pollution
Crypto proponents are also upset with the policymakers’ call to investigate ‘digital asset pollution.’ The letter stated in response, “This is deeply misleading: there are no pollutants, including CO2, released by digital asset mining. Bitcoin miners have no emissions whatsoever.”
Another popular allegation of crypto critics and this time, of House Democrats, includes criticism of energy consumed by a single Bitcoin transaction that could instead power an “average U.S. household for a month.”
The letter states that the argument is “patently and provably false,” as “Bitcoin transactions do not carry “energy payloads.”
As per the crypto signatories, “the ‘per-transaction’ energy cost analysis is a deeply flawed way to reason about Bitcoin,”
They further illustrate that the projecting future energy growth is not a function of transaction count, but instead of the value of Bitcoin issuance.
Flaws in computing Bitcoin energy consumption
When it comes to miner energy consumption, data analysis by researchers has continued to raise eyebrows. For instance, Digiconomist had claimed that a single Bitcoin transaction is sufficient to power an average U.S. household for over 73 days.
However, the University of Cambridge had released a report that laid down reasons as to why this analogy is not necessarily accurate.
The institution held that “direct comparisons [of crypto mining] to other activities that appear similar on the surface can only provide a partial – and thus necessarily incomplete – picture.”
More importantly, CCAF had attested that data used in the ongoing energy debate might also lack a balanced approach, incorporate bias or use non-standardized figures.
Meanwhile, the signatories have also come heavily on the legislators for citing another research that contends, “Bitcoin mining alone produces almost 30,700 tons of electronic waste every year.” The claim falls short, as per the executives, due to its “extremely short assumed depreciation period” for application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners.
Educating policymakers on crypto mining
Crypto bosses have remarked that “education is required to ensure that public officials understand that the digital asset mining sector does not contribute to the environmental issues raised in the [House Democrats’] Letter.”
But, the argument with respect to environmental pollution has been gaining steam, both within the community and the legislators.
Recently, European Union underwent crucial voting on a cryptocurrency framework proposal (MiCA) that could have banned the proof-of-work consensus, if it were not rejected.
Meanwhile, Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has shut crypto donations due to similar concerns among the users. Before that, Mozilla had received backlash for its choice to accept cryptocurrency donations, when its energy-related drawbacks remain unaddressed.
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